Ninjas in Pyjamas scooped up their first big tournament victory of the year as they took down Dreamhack Valencia’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament over the weekend.
Dreamhack Valencia has been a favourite of the CS:GO calendar since it first launchedi n 2012. The now-$50,000 prize pool is tantalising enough to bring in five invited teams, with a further three making their way in through a set of EU, Iberian and NA qualifiers. Two of those qualifiers, team Heroic and Red Reserve, managed to overcome the group stage and stand with stalwart teams Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team EnVyUs in the playoffs.
Boasting a near-perfect performance, NiP didn’t drop a map until the semifinals against Team EnVyUs on Inferno. Showing a resilience that had been missing for the past year, NiP rallied back from the early deficit against EnVyUs before proceeding to sweep Team Red Reserve in the finals with a 16-10 victory on Mirage, and a 16-2 victory on Cache.
The finals began with Red Reserve jumping out to a commanding 6-0 round lead on CT side, as their map pick of Mirage looked to prove fruitful. But as NiP found a footing in round seven, the lead was reduced to 9-6 for Red Reserve before half-time. As NiP moved to CT, they firmly gained control of the game, allowing Red Reserve just one round victory before sealing the first map. They would continue their momentum onto Cache, completely dismantling Red Reserve to the tune $50,000 and their first piece of hardware since IEM Oakland.
The victory marks NiP’s stark return to form, as their overall tournament performance in 2017 has been less than stellar. Since the replacement of one of the longest tenured player in the game’s history, Adam “friberg” Friberg, with Fedrik “REZ” Sterner a month ago, NiP have been seemingly rejuvenated of sorts. REZ, along with teammates William “draken” Sundin and Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg, carried their team’s frags all day, boasting an impressive KDA through the finals, with REZ generating more than 40 frags in almost all of NiP’s matches.
With their playoff finish in Cologne, and their impressive run through Valencia’s competition, the Swedish CS:GO stalwarts look poised to make their mark on the scene once again. With NiP’s storied franchise, the concept of a tournament scene without the Ninjas presence was gloomy, but fans of the historic team can finally start looking forward to the future again.